Mozo Experts Choice Awards analysis: getting your saving, spending and banking app right

For our Mozo Experts Choice Deposit Awards each year, our team of data experts analyse hundreds of products on the market - 510 accounts from 80 providers to be precise - to determine which ones offer the best value and most useful features. 

And after digging through all those bank accounts, apps and savings options, we came away with plenty of tips to help you set up your finances in the best possible way. Below we run through some of the key takeaways.

Award-winning bank accounts

A bank account is a pretty basic building block of your financial set up, and you probably haven’t put much thought into it beyond making sure you aren’t paying an extra fee.

But fee-free bank accounts are pretty standard at this point, so to find our Mozo Experts Choice Award winners we looked at other features that add extra value to your financial life. These included low foreign exchange rates, use of payment technology, and various other perks.

Accounts that offer 0% foreign exchange rates

If you travel regularly or buy from overseas stores online, a low foreign exchange rate should be one of the main things you look for in a bank account.

The majority of accounts come with International Exchange Margins of 3% or more, so those few that offer no exchange margin at all are particularly impressive. Of the 149 accounts we track, only 14 come with foreign exchange rates of 0% (though overseas ATM fees might still apply).

Payment tech

One of the bigger developments in banking over the last few years has been the adoption of payment technologies like Apple Pay and PayID. These allow you to leave your wallet at home and make contactless purchases using your smartphone, and for many have become an essential part of daily life.

We found that PayID, Google Pay, and Apple Pay were the most widely offered, while other options like SamsungPay, Garmin Pay or FitBit Pay were added bonuses where available. 

Among this year’s winners, five offered Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayID: the Up Everyday Account, the Macquarie Transaction Account and Platinum Transaction Account, the ING Orange Everyday Account, and the Bankwest Qantas Transaction Account.

Savings accounts

When it comes to savings accounts, it’s all about earning the most interest to help grow your stash, but that might be easier said than done nowadays. This time last year, the average savings account rate was 1.56% p.a., but after three cuts to the official cash rate, it’s since fallen to 0.98% p.a.

Thankfully, there are a few silver linings. First of all, a handful of savings accounts out there still offer excellent value. Secondly, while high interest options have traditionally come with a set of conditions, a couple of newcomers have done away with them, offering great rates without requiring you to jump through any hoops.

As part of the Mozo Experts Choice Awards, we split the savings accounts we compare into three broad categories: Regular Saver accounts, No Strings accounts and Kick Start accounts.

Regular Saver accounts

These are for serious savers who are able to meet deposit conditions (often depositing between $200 to $2,000 into the account or a linked everyday account each month) and withdrawal conditions (most often making no withdrawals, sometimes making just one per month).

Market rates for these kinds of accounts range from 0.15% p.a. to 2.25% p.a.%, and the average is 1.55% p.a. This year’s award winners, meanwhile, had rates of between 2.00% p.a. and 2.25% p.a., so by choosing a winner and committing to the requirements, you can see your savings grow faster.

No Strings accounts

These are the savings accounts that don’t require you to meet certain conditions to receive interest. If you don’t have your pay put directly into your account, can’t reliably meet deposit conditions, or know you’ll need to withdraw sometimes, this is the kind of account you should be looking for.

Ongoing rates across all the accounts we track range from 0% p.a. to 2.25% p.a., and average at 0.61% p.a. Our team of judges awarded accounts with rates ranging from 1.40% p.a. to 2.25% p.a.

Kick Start accounts

These are the accounts that come with an introductory rate, usually one that lasts between 3 and 6 months. They can be a good idea if you’re looking to give your savings a quick boost, but be sure to take note of the ongoing rate you’ll be receiving once the introductory period is over.

Rates for these kinds of accounts range from 1.35% p.a. to 2.65% p.a., with the average coming in at 1.86%. We only awarded the top 10% of accounts in this category, which means rates among the winners range from 2.35% p.a. to 2.65% p.a. - a seriously good way to start off your savings.

Term deposits

When searching for the best term deposit, savers need to shoot for the best possible interest rate at a term that suits their financial needs and goals. If you’d prefer a shorter investment option, say, less than five months, winners like ING offer rates as high as 1.80% p.a. If you’re willing to lock away your savings for a year or more, winners like Judo Bank offer rates as high as 2.35% p.a.

Banking apps

While most banks leave a lot to be desired when it comes to rates, there’s been plenty of progress on the technology front. Nowadays, most people manage their finances through their banking apps, and the uptick in security and functionality of apps on the market reflects this. 

Among the most common features were the ability to temporarily lock your credit or debit card and change its PIN through the app, which would come in handy if you’ve misplaced your card or are afraid it’s been stolen.

Biometric log-in, such as fingerprint scanning and facial recognition, has also been widely adopted. This involves scanning your physical traits to make sure only you have access to your banking app, and as far as security measures go, it’s among the most effective.

And while some features weren’t so common among banking apps, they were weighted pretty highly by our panel of judges. For example, only 86400 and AMP allow you to connect to other banks, and both picked up wins this year.

The 2020 Mozo Experts Choice Deposit Award winners

If you’re feeling motivated to revamp your bank account and savings situation, then the first place to start is our Mozo Experts Choice Award winners, determined through rigorous analysis by our panel of experts. So head over to see the full 2020 winners list and start your search for better savings.